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The life and times of veteran TV actor Cornelia Frances as she dies at age 77 of cancer

From playing Alf Stewart’s evil sister Morag Bellingham in Home And Away to becoming the fearful host of popular game show The Weakest Link, Cornelia Frances was Australia’s favourite TV villain.

The actress’s battle with bladder cancer came to end overnight when she died at the age of 77.

Working in the industry for more than 40 years, the veteran star appeared in numerous television shows, stage performances and films in her time.

 

From Alf’s evil sister Morag to fearful Weakest Link host: The life and times of veteran TV actor Cornelia Frances as she dies at age 77 of cancer (Pictured on Home And Away)

The legendary TV villain was notably known for playing Alf Stewart’s evil sister Morag Bellingham in Home And Away from 1988 – last appearing on the soap in 2017. 

Cornelia, who died of cancer overnight, was diagnosed with bladder cancer over a year ago. Later, doctors told her it had spread to her hip and spine.

In one of her last interviews in February, she joked about being a ‘bi*** on television’ and thanked producers for the roles that made her career. 

The legendary TV villain was notably known for playing Alf Stewart's evil sister Morag Bellingham in Home And Away from 1988 - last appearing on the soap in 2017

The legendary TV villain was notably known for playing Alf Stewart’s evil sister Morag Bellingham in Home And Away from 1988 – last appearing on the soap in 2017

In 1976, Cornelia appeared as Sister Scott on The Young Doctors (Pictured second from left)

In 1976, Cornelia appeared as Sister Scott on The Young Doctors (Pictured second from left)

Speaking to A Current Affair in February, she revealed she was a patient in the same hospital where she filmed the TV series Young Doctors in the 1970s (pictured)

Speaking to A Current Affair in February, she revealed she was a patient in the same hospital where she filmed the TV series Young Doctors in the 1970s (pictured)

Cornelia’s first-ever screen role was in the 1960 movie Peeping Tom, which was directed by her uncle Michael Powell.

Ten years later she made her move to TV, playing Georgina Clausen on Dynasty.

In 1976, she appeared as Sister Scott on The Young Doctors. In an interview from her hospital bed in February with A Current Affair, she revealed poignantly that she was a patient in the same hospital where she filmed the TV series in the 1970s. 

Brave battle: Cornelia reflected on her illustrious career spanning five decades from her Sydney hospital bed in February as she continued her battle with cancer

Brave battle: Cornelia reflected on her illustrious career spanning five decades from her Sydney hospital bed in February as she continued her battle with cancer

Following her three-year stint on The Young Doctors, Cornelia next appeared as Carmel Saunders on TV series Prisoner: Cell Block H.

On the prison drama she played the tough lawyer who was handling inmate Pat O’Connell’s appeal.

While starring on a handful of shows after Prisoner, her next notable character was Barbara Hamilton/Armstrong on series, Sons and Daughters, in 1982.

However, her longest character arc appeared on beloved Channel Seven soap Home And Away – playing Alf Stewart’s evil sister Morag Bellingham. 

Cornelia played the stern barrister and judge who had a clear distaste dislike for Summer Bay and the people in it – including her own family.

 

Cornelia said that lying in her bed at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital 40 years after filming Young Doctors is a ‘different view altogether’.

However, she assured her fans that she would fight the cancer that had then spread beyond her bladder.

In her interview, Cornelia also thanked the producers who continuously handed her roles which allowed her to become Australia’s most famous TV villain.

‘I’d like to thank the producers who hired me because it ain’t easy to put a b***h on television,’ she said. 

Acting legend: In her interview, Cornelia also thanked the producers who continuously handed her roles which allowed her to become Australia's most famous TV villain 

Acting legend: In her interview, Cornelia also thanked the producers who continuously handed her roles which allowed her to become Australia’s most famous TV villain 

Cornelia said her lengthy career - which included stints on Home And Away and as the host of the Australian version of The Weakest Link (pictured) - had been a 'wonderful road' 

Cornelia said her lengthy career – which included stints on Home And Away and as the host of the Australian version of The Weakest Link (pictured) – had been a ‘wonderful road’ 

Cornelia said her lengthy career – which included stints on Home And Away and as the host of the Australian version of The Weakest Link – had been a ‘wonderful road’ and she loved ‘every minute’ of it.

The Young Doctors star added that she had no hard feelings about never winning a Logie Award, despite being nominated six times. 

‘It’s a public opinion, they don’t like the b***hes, they like the nice ladies. Being nominated was a great thrill, it was lovely,’ Cornelia said. 

Staying positive: Cornelia also told the program she was feeling 'fine' after revealing earlier this year that she was suffering from bladder cancer

Staying positive: Cornelia also told the program she was feeling ‘fine’ after revealing earlier this year that she was suffering from bladder cancer

Cornelia also told the program she was feeling ‘fine’ after revealing she was suffering from bladder cancer earlier this year.

She explained: ‘The pain comes and goes but you expect that, it’s par for the course.’

In January, Cornelia confessed that she had almost died from blood loss.

She told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I discovered I had bladder cancer. This then spread to my hip bone which fractured, and then I almost died from loss of blood due to an ulcer in my throat. Despite all this, I am still here, as the old song goes.’ 

The Young Doctors star (RIGHT) added that she had no hard feelings about never winning a Logie Award, despite being nominated six times

The Young Doctors star (RIGHT) added that she had no hard feelings about never winning a Logie Award, despite being nominated six times

As news broke of the actress’ death on Tuesday, her son shared an extraordinary photo of his mother in her last days.

He wrote: ‘A very personal photo of my mum during one of her resting moments, she is so peaceful, soft and serene. I truly love this woman.’

According to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, Cornelia died ‘overnight’ on Monday, surrounded by her friends and family.

Rest in peace: As news broke of the actress' death on Tuesday, her son shared an extraordinary photo of his mother in her last days

Rest in peace: As news broke of the actress’ death on Tuesday, her son shared an extraordinary photo of his mother in her last days



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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